With billions of people actively using social media on a daily basis, the platform has become a great place to showcase business and market products.
Small scale businesses can also take advantage of the fact that advertising on social media is either entirely free or at a very low cost. It doesn’t cost anything to create a social media account and build followers.
But does that mean social media can replace the need for a website? Can a business be successfully run on social media platforms alone? Before answering the question, let’s look at the following analysis.
How Much Can Social Media Help?
Facebook has over 2.7 billion active monthly users. It is the 6th most frequently visited website globally. Therefore, Facebook has already built an audience for anyone who can make the best use of its features.
Many companies have Facebook pages with millions of followers. That might be higher than the number of people visiting their website.
Having a Facebook page and building a good number of followers can create more awareness about a product than what a website can do, especially as it is not necessary for anyone to visit a website before they see the product.
All that potential customers need to do is to log in to their Facebook account, and several millions of people do that every day. Yet, Facebook is not the only social media platform available for showcasing business products.
Instagram, Whatsapp, Telegram, and Tiktok are some of the other popular social media platforms available today for promoting businesses.
Each of them can boast of hundreds of millions of active users, and they are all great communities to promote businesses and interact with potential customers.
Social media can be used for almost everything websites are being used for. On social media, business organizations can advertise their products, sell products to customers, receive payment, render support services, and get feedback.
What Does it Cost to Run a Business on Social Media?
Opening social media accounts is free. There are paid adverts, but a business can promote its products to its followers free of charge on its page or group, depending on the mode of operation of the platform.
To be successful, a business account must have a good number of followers. This might require professionalism, and businesses spend money to build followers. But that varies widely and depends on the company’s budget.
Although a big organization can spend a lot of money to build social media followers, a small one can build a significant number of followers at a very low cost, even at no cost at all.
Generally, it will likely be cheaper for a small business to build social media followers than to build a website.
This is if we consider the fact that once a business social media account has followers, the account does not need to pay to maintain them, unlike a website that will require annual hosting fees.
How Long Does it Take to Build Followers?
Just like the cost, the time taken to build followers on social media varies significantly. In most cases, it will be faster to build a website than to build a large number of social media followers.
If the business needs instant attention, then going through the route of building social media followers as against building a website might not be a good decision.
Building social media followers is usually a long term investment. However, the good side of it is that it always has a cumulative effect.
Social media followers will likely keep on growing, for as long as the social media platform keeps increasing in popularity, and the business keeps promoting itself.
Risks Associated With Dependence on Social Media
Despite all the benefits mentioned, putting all business promotion strategies on social media is a big risk. A business organization doesn’t own the social media, and the success of its account depends absolutely on the success of the social media platform.
Should Facebook decide to close its account, change its policy, or the government of a particular region ban its operation in the region as it happened to Tiktok.
Then every business that depends on Facebook will automatically lose all their investment in building followers and other advertising strategies. The business will be made to pay for something it knows nothing about. That cannot happen in the case of a website.
Also, taste and fashion change. A new platform can emerge anytime which people’s interests may shift too. Then a business that has invested heavily on the existing social media will return to square one; Starting all over again.
Social Media and Website Compare
Based on the above analysis, the benefits of depending on social media for running a business can be listed as follows:
Advantages of Social Media
- Social media has a ready-made audience
- It is cheap
- It does not require high maintenance cost
- Followers-only need to log in to their account to see the business products
Limitations of Social Media
- A business organization has no control over the functionality of the social media platform.
- Social media cannot provide in-depth information about a business organization as much a website can
- Building a sizeable number of followers on social media may take time
Advantages of Websites
- A website is completely under the control of the business organization
- It offers more detailed information about a business than social media
- A website can be built within a short time
Disadvantages of Websites
- Complex websites might be expensive
- A website requires promotion to gain popularity
As much as social media has many benefits, it is not enough to guarantee long term business success. Every business organization needs a website and social media presence.
While the website will enable the business to give detailed and in-depth information about its activities, and ensure the organization has full control of its promotion, social media will help to drive traffic to the website.
Author Bio: Linda Andress
After more than eight years in the publishing industry, Linda Andress knows how to successfully implement PR strategies and meetings and turn ideas into a successful copy. Now, she has turned into a bookworm, reading three books at a time and writing articles on PR and marketing for HowSociable.